Solar PV Panels - Pigeon issues

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noahs-dad
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Solar PV Panels - Pigeon issues

Postby noahs-dad » Sat May 27, 2017 8:57 am

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This might just be of interest or help someone here... I recently started a thread about my pigeon hell with our roof and PV system on the renewables forum I frequent. I have cut n pasted below my last post from after a visit to my roof on Thursday night...

Went up on the roof yesterday, I knew there were 24 pigeons so was not surprised to learn we had 3 nests. We have 4 rows of 4 panels of PV (16 panels) on the roof. Two of the nests are going to be tricky to remove as they are on the 3rd and 4th row and quite far away. I did remove the closer lower nest to test the waters and see what I might need tool wise for the more difficult nests. Even that turned out to be trickier than I expected. There is little wiggle room between the roof and panels, with the nest compact in-between. It was glued to the roof with pigeon poop. I could not budge it and had to repeatedly jab it for ages with a pitch fork and break it up bits at a time. The nests are bigger than I thought would be too.

The nest was also constructed around a cable which I did not realise at the time of jabbing the nest, and has not helped either. As I could not see much, I think I have now either damaged the cable or unplugged it probably taking out a few panels in the process. Our 4.53kW system peaks out at 4.1kW, however yesterday on a day with little cloud, constant sun and possibly the best day we will sill this year weather wise, my system only ever peaked at 3kW. Arrrrrgh damn pigeons. Going to check the inverters in my loft later... I also thought this lower nest was empty as the pigeons all moved to higher up on the roof or flew away to observe from next doors roof when I was up. I could hear no bird noise or see any movement. It was only when I completely got the whole nest out I saw 2 pigeons huddled together. Not sure if a couple sitting on an egg or a mum and younger pigeon? Despite this being another 'the pigeons under my panels are ruining my life tale', I suddenly started feeling very guilty.

Even if I struggle to remove the higher nests, just getting the gutters cleared will be an improvement. They are full to the brim of pigeon poop and attract flies in great numbers at this time of year, which loiter around our bedroom windows and always make their way into our home. Plus the guttering needs attention anyway as it is not working and causing other issues. I'd say so far I have cleared about a third of the guttering and have filled 3 large supermarket carriers full of pigeon poop and turf that is growing in it.

A couple of things I will say, is if you are going to attempt it yourself also, sturdy trade quality ladders are ideally the way to go. My Lyte branded ladders are absolutely solid and robust, unlike some of this flimsy bendy aluminium like ladders you get. It gives confidence which is good when climbing high. Like most I am far from particularly enthusiastic about scaling such heights. I gently eased myself into it and got more comfortable with the height, the longer I was up and went up and down the ladder. And a Ladder-Stand-Off attachment is all but essential in my book. I could not have imagined doing this without one. Am not even sure I could possibly undertake it without this attachment. I also found wearing a rucksack/backpack was useful to take tools up, and my camera (less essential), and lots of bags for the poop waste.

Thanks for the other posts so far, which have been most helpful and informative. I will continue to update this post as I tackle my pigeon problem, which is an ongoing project... I knew it was going to be a big job, but is bigger than I anticipated.

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Buzby
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Re: Solar PV Panels - Pigeon issues

Postby Buzby » Sat May 27, 2017 5:30 pm

I found that after 16 problem free months following installation, I became the target with around 20 pigeons roosting nightly, and also 6 nests, 2 decomposing corpses and wet slime on paths and the roof.

I evaluated several solutions - but the guano on the panels themselves was resulting in approx 10% loss in efficiency and the possibility of one string being disconnected.

I found a roofer who preferred using blanking plates that prevented the birds from getting under the panel, the cost was more than using a galvanised grid, as the nesting sites can still be seen by the birds and they would linger longer. The full blanking meant they moved, but each panel had to be unplugged lowered, cleaned the roof space sanitised, panel restored and the blanking strip fitted.
- Raymond (Glasgow)
EVAS Communications

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Scally
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Re: Solar PV Panels - Pigeon issues

Postby Scally » Sat May 27, 2017 10:20 pm

Your main problem isn't your solar panels, it is those clogged-up gutters ...

But anyway, disturbing nesting birds is probably breaking the law.

A general licence, issued by the government, allows ‘authorised persons’ to kill or take roof-nesting feral pigeons in Britain, and house sparrows, starlings and feral pigeons in Northern Ireland, and destroy their nests, but only if it can be shown that action was necessary for the purpose of preserving public health.

You should always avoid roofing work if you know birds are nesting there, but sometimes a roof nest is only discovered during renovation work. If this happens and the roof cannot be left until the young have flown, you can make an artificial nest box for a starling or sparrow quickly and simply by cutting a four-litre ice cream tub.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildl ... moval.aspx

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Buzby
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Re: Solar PV Panels - Pigeon issues

Postby Buzby » Sun May 28, 2017 8:18 am

I put up a sign saying the roof was private property and any unauthorised nests would be removed. I'm sympathetic sure - but no when my installation is being compromised. As for any illegality, there are good laws and bad laws, a police matter? I doubt it. The cash-strapped Council? They cannot remove Street litter effectively (also illegal) so we need to rely on common sense. The new 'safety strips round my PV panels will ensure nothing will get caught underneath so is an improvement.
- Raymond (Glasgow)
EVAS Communications

noahs-dad
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Re: Solar PV Panels - Pigeon issues

Postby noahs-dad » Sun May 28, 2017 11:43 pm

The pigeons are ruining our life. That is no exaggeration. I am familiar with the legal position. It is pretty safe on a personal level to remove a pigeon nest from your roof however. If you phone the RSPB about a pigeon or seagull, they will rarely be interested. I have done so in the past, when I took in an endangered seagull chic (I live in a seaside town) so plenty of seagull activity here too! Pigeons and seagulls due to their high numbers and general problems they cause are considered rogue species.

Anyway, I have no interest in killing or harming the birds. I just want them off my roof, and to stop running our life, which is what is happening for multiple reasons.

A brief update, my gutters are now completely cleared. Well sort of, the first section I cleared the other night, when I went back up this weekend, it had already started to fill up quite quickly with pigeon poop. A bit demoralising really, but it is just a sticky plaster treatment for now. I managed to remove one nest (the closer one). I have not been able to remove the other 2 nests, am considering my options, possibly going to invest in some drain rod cleaners, and try that.

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Buzby
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Re: Solar PV Panels - Pigeon issues

Postby Buzby » Mon May 29, 2017 9:48 am

Until you remove the the roosting positions then the problem isn't going to go. After my first gutter clearance the smell at least disappeared slightly - but don't forget you'll have to lift the panels and hose out underneath too. My birds moved on to other sites in adjacent streets. The fact seagulls are too big to fit underneath is a blessing, but the sooner you remove access, the better.
- Raymond (Glasgow)
EVAS Communications

noahs-dad
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Re: Solar PV Panels - Pigeon issues

Postby noahs-dad » Mon May 29, 2017 10:21 am

Agree with that. Reasons I am not permanently fixing the issue at moment is:

(a) Don't like aesthetic look of the mesh and want something more specific to job and black colour.
(b) Intend to install more roof panels, and can get a perm fix done at same time, but don't quite have funds for it all at moment.

I have also noticed when on my roof the company that charged my next door neighbour £340 to pigeon proof, appear to have only done a surface look clean up, and have not cleared all the mess. Maybe I am bit too untrusting, but I don't trust anyone other than my renewables installer to do a perm fix. Incidentally these pigeon removal services are just doing the same things anyone can do, except they presumably have a badge to do it. Either way the nests are getting removed.

So after more research I have today ordered drain rods and attachments https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bailey-Univers ... ailey+5431 At £30 this seems worth a pop (will be a useful future guttering cleaning tool if not a pigeon clearing one). I am confident I will be able to get the 2nd middle level nest removed with this stuff, the 3rd higher up nest, I am not convinced, but will see.

I don't mind going up and down regularly if needed after removing nests until such time I get a perm fix. It won't be hard to notice if they are constructing new nests as my garden and driveway always get covered in twigs and branches, bit of a give away sign that.


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